The Critical Review, Or, Annals of Literature (Google eBook)

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W. Simpkin and R. Marshall, 1816 - English literature
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The Critical Review, Or, Annals of Literature By Tobias George Smollett, 1816 DC pp. 512-513 The Dinias and Dercyllis of Diogenes took the lead ; the Metamorphoses of Lucius succeeded; then we have the loves and pursuit of Rhodanes and Sinon; when two hundred years of dulness were recompensed by the Theagenes ami Chariclea, the seductive fiction of a bishop, who had under his controul the diocese of Tricca. We ought not to omit the remark to those whom we are addressing, that this mitred novelist, and all the ancient writers of the same class, appear to consider the heroes of their story as of no comparative importance, and to bestow all the force of character and spirit of colouring upon their heroines: thus Theagenes is a very insipid person, and the energy and talent is alone bestowed upon Chariclea. A less polite age altered this scheme, so that we find pirates and robbers among the principal characters; and it is to this period that a noble lord, now an absentee, is pria- cipally indebted for the outline, and indeed for much of the dark shading, of his narratives. The prelate we have named has had admirers and imitators after the expiration of thirteen and fifteen centuries: his work suggested to Tasso the birth and early life of Clorinda, in the Jerusalem : and the sacrifice, and subsequent discovery of Chariclea, (the very name adopted) in the Pastorfido of {Juarini. Oom- berville and Scudery, with their numerous followers, were from the same model, and became extremely popular in France. Hardy composed eight tragedies on the subject; and Dorat one, with the identical title of the romance, which was acted in Paris as late as the year 1769. Longus, who, in the fourth century, wrote his Daphnis and Cloe, is the parent of the pastoral, and the origin of the ten thousand productions in which both his style and hi-s names are copied, as if he ha'd by his talents wholly exhausted this mine of invention. The error, however, has been, that he has not, in some respects, been sufficiently attended to. In his composition we nave no conceited gal- (513>) Self-Decept ion. 513 i • ' • " Self-Deception" has a most singular introduction; the novel, instead of ending, begins with the marriage of the hero and heroine; so that, when every thing romantic should be disposed of, and the vulgar transactions of life commence, which are imagined to be too mean for the pencil of the artist, we have still the story pursued ; and we do not at all know how the attention of the reader would have been kept alive, unless some other candidates for distinction had been admitted, who, indeed, give us enough of marriage, for not one of them remains unyoked,—the last couple submitting to the short forms of the Scottish ceremonial, in order to prevent unnecessary delays. iantry, DO didactic instruction, no abstract reasoning, no intrusive episodes, no golden age; and he attempts to please only by the correct transcript of nature. Uamsay's Gentle Shepherd is an imitation of Longus. Our fair readers will perceive, that although we are travelling back a considerable way into antiquity, yet that we are endeavouring to preserve the connection with the modern road, in which we are all familiar; for it signifies little to us what these philosophers, poets, and sophists, have done, unless we, with their assistance, are enabled the better to discover the tract we should ourselves pursue: yet as, in the order of chronology, we shall presently be coming to Gildas, Nen- niu.s, and other monkish and unfashionable personages, we will even leave them in their own dormitories, and join the cheerful society of Miss Parker. Another singularity is, that the reader is left wholly in the dark as to any of those best consolations of marriage, a chubby ruddy offspring; for such is the immaculate purity of the heroine, that the most respectful distance is preserved throughout the whole novel; and when reconciliation appears to be 

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Page 191 - Earth has not anything to show more fair: Dull would he be of soul who could pass by A sight so touching in its majesty: This City now doth, like a garment, wear The beauty of the morning; silent, bare, Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie Open unto the fields, and to the sky; All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Page 580 - And they were enemies; they met beside The dying embers of an altar-place Where had been heap'da mass of holy things For an unholy usage; they raked up, And shivering scraped with their cold skeleton hands The feeble ashes, and their feeble breath Blew for a little life, and made a flame Which was a mockery; then they lifted up Their eyes as it grew lighter, and beheld Each other's aspects - saw, and shriek'd, and died Even of their mutual hideousness they died, Unknowing who he was upon whose brow...
Page 362 - I know they are as lively and as vigorously productive as those fabulous dragon's teeth, and being sown up and down, may chance to spring up armed men. And yet, on the other hand, unless wariness be used, as good almost kill a man as kill a good book. Who kills a man, kills a reasonable creature, God's image; but he who destroys a good book, kills reason itself, kills the image of God, as it were in the eye.
Page 572 - And in each pillar there is a ring, And in each ring there is a chain; That iron is a cankering thing, For in these limbs its teeth remain, With marks that will not wear away...
Page 576 - For he would never thus have flown, And left me twice so doubly lone, Lone as the corse within its shroud, Lone as a solitary cloud, — A single cloud on a sunny day, While all the rest of heaven is clear, A frown upon the atmosphere, That hath no business to appear When skies are blue, and earth is gay.
Page 571 - But rusted with a vile repose, For they have been a dungeon's spoil, And mine has been the fate of those To whom the goodly earth and air Are bann'd, and barr'd — forbidden fare; But this was for my father's faith...
Page 124 - For this is not the liberty which we can hope, that no grievance ever should arise in the Commonwealth, that let no man in this world expect ; but when complaints are freely heard, deeply considered, and speedily reformed, then is the utmost bound of civil liberty attained that wise men look for.
Page 569 - Accordingly, such a language, arising out of repeated experience and regular feelings, is a more permanent, and a far more philosophical language, than that which is frequently substituted for it by Poets, who think that they are conferring honour upon themselves and their art, in proportion as they separate themselves from the sympathies of men, and indulge in arbitrary and capricious habits of expression, in order to furnish food for fickle tastes, and fickle appetites, of their own creation...
Page 362 - Tis true, no age can restore a life, whereof perhaps there is no great loss ; and revolutions of ages do not oft recover the loss of a rejected truth, for the want of which whole nations fare the worse.
Page 557 - The things which have the greatest value in use have frequently little or no value in exchange; and, on the contrary, those which have the greatest value in exchange have frequently little or no value in use. Nothing is more useful than water: but it will purchase scarce anything; scarce anything can be had in exchange for it.

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